Staycation ideas for your Freedom long weekend

Freedom Day is a South African public holiday celebrated on 27 April, the date which commemorates the first post-apartheid elections held on that day in 1994.

The first democratic elections were the first non-racial national elections held in SA, and regardless of how difficult things still seem in SA, nothing will be as bad as denying specific South Africans the right to cast their vote.

It’s a good idea to head back to SA’s roots on Freedom Day – not only to remember the bitter history and wrongs of the past, but to celebrate just how far we’ve come as a nation in building bridges to a better future for everyone.

We’re still in the process, that's for certain, but we need to acknowledge the good achieved to keep us motivated, to keep SA going forward.

It’s not necessary for you to hang out in the Apartheid museum all day, but be sure to be in a space where you can be reminded of the privilege of living in a free country. 

SEE: Your 2020 Public Holidays planner | All the long weekends to enjoy so you don't max out your leave  

1. Take a trip to Robben Island 

If you've never been, you might want to consider going?

The island has also recently launched an app in partnership with Google Maps, which will enable visitors to experience the island on their own time, with an audio playing ‘tour guide’ in hand. 

READ:  'Demolish and create our own Ibiza': Has Robben Island lost its reverence?

2. Feel Soweto

There are plenty of ways to take a trip into this cultural hub of the country.

If anything, it has become so much more than the only street in the world to have houses two Nobel Peace Prize winners - which in itself is an astounding fact. It's a living, breathing pulse of kasi life in South Africa and there are plenty of other must-sees in this urban city.

You can also opt for a organized tour with either Soweto.co.za or City Sightseeing, and you’ll be sure to hit all the sweet spots. 

SEE: A holiday in Soweto?

 

3. Visit the bubbly Plett Winelands route that you may not know about 

The wine route in Plettenberg Bay may not have the history of the Cape Winelands, but it has fast become a white wine and bubbly hotspot. There's also an annual wine festival around Easter time that brings all the vineyards together to celebrate their burgeoning wine region. See more options here.

Wine worth travelling for: The bubbly Plett Winela

 

READ: Visit the Apartheid museum 

4. Experience the Art of digitalisation on the walls of Cape Town's Salt River

There's new street art adorning the walls of Salt River's buildings - asking the hard questions about technology's impact on art and our society. The International Public Art Festival (IPAF) - in its fourth year - has taken to Cape Town's streets again over the weekend, brightening up the city and attracting crowds of art lovers to a neighbourhood once considered 'dangerous'. 

WATCH: A love affair with corrugated iron shared by two artists across social divides 

 

The power of social media, the idea of identity in a digital age and what it might hold for future generations are some of the many themes on display.

  

5. Go for a braai

Get out there and celebrate FREEDOM with fellow South Africans. There’s no need to go to Mzoli’s specifically, as you can just as well host a braai with friends at home. If you’re looking for good company, however, Mzoli’s will serve this, along with the best Shisanyama around.

SEE: Lit braai and picnic spots

 

6. Visit Lilliesleaf Farm in Rivonia

Once the nerve centre of the liberation movement and a place of refuge for its leaders, today Liliesleaf is one of South Africa's foremost, award-winning heritage sites, where the journey to democracy in South Africa is honoured.

"Liliesleaf has always been a place of dialogue. In the early 1960s, when the property was the headquarters for covert, underground activities and a safe house for many leading figures of the liberation movement, debates on political and military policy and strategy were commonplace. People from diverse backgrounds but with a common vision met here to discuss South Africa's emancipation from an oppressive apartheid regime."

Also read: The Top 10 SA landmarks everyone must see - before they're gone!

7. Attend a proudly South African festival 

The country is your oyster in this category.  You can either hit the

Tankwa Karoo for the iconic AfrikaBurn...

...or join the cheese & wine lovers at this years’ Cheese Festival held outside Stellenbosch on Sandringham Farm. 

8. Visit the Nelson Mandela Capture site 

This is one of the most beautiful of the remembrance sites in South Africa. This sculpture in Howick in KwaZulu Natal is an interactive area where you can reminisce alone or spend time with your loved ones. The beautiful green surrounds add to the display that becomes Madiba’s face as you walk closer. 

 

READ: Driving from Durban to the Midlands, beautiful but also terrifying

9. Hang out in Sandton at the feet of the father of our nation

The Nelson Mandela square boasts a six-meter tall sculpture of Madiba (which is almost as big as he was…). Here, while you go about your daily business of shopping and grabbing a bite to eat, you will be in the presence of this icon looking down on passersby. 

Nelson Mandela Square #nelsonmandelasquare #nelsonmandela #madiba #sandton #sandtoncity

A photo posted by garygerber (@garygerber) on

SEE: The deeper meaning behind these Mandela monuments

 

10. Enjoy the country’s public gardens

In the light of South Africans celebrating every national symbol and significant SA features, why not head to

Kirstenbosch to see to most magnificent display of our national flower (the protea) and tree (the yellowwood)?

Family fun day @ Kirstenbosch Gardens... #boomslang

A photo posted by Andrea Gorman (@andrea_gorman) on

See: Kirstenbosch does SA proud again as International Garden of the Year

You can also head to the equally impressive botanical gardens of Durban or Johannesburg, or the smaller ones in

Betty’s Bay, Stellenbosch, or the beautiful ‘garden’ that is the south coast and sunshine coast as a whole!